‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Alright everybody, it’s time to get our Christmas on! There’s only 16 more days to go.

I love Christmas: the smell of a fresh tree in the house, colored lights everywhere and even the hustle and bustle of the month of December. It’s a time to reflect upon those aspects of life that are truly important. We can share gifts with the ones we love and maybe even often a little Christmas cheer to those who are less fortunate.

Christmas, to me, means family and a chance to catch our breaths from the busy year we are about to leave behind. This month, Clay and I are looking forward to returning to Alberta for a few days and getting the opportunity to visit with relatives and friends.

Today I’d like to share with you one of my favorite Christmases of all time. And then, if you feel so inclined, I’d love it if you share your favorite Christmas with me. Just drop me a quick line or two in the comments section below. In a week, one lucky reader will win a My Stable Life gift basket as my special Christmas present to you for sharing your memories.

So here goes:

Me on the left, D'Allegro and my best friend Jaime on the right.

Wow, does the above picture ever take me back! As you can see, neon colors and curled bangs were in big fashion in those days…  But you have to give me a little slack – this shot was taken on a Christmas eve when I was 13-years-old. My family had gotten together at my best friend, Jaime’s house to exchange gifts as per our usual tradition.

Unbeknownst to me, Jaime was about to throw me for a complete loop. After some hot chocolate and gift unwrapping, Jaime said, “Hey Jenn, you gotta come outside and take a look at these Northern lights out here!”

So I put on my neon jacket and followed her and her parents out the door. My family then followed me out the door. And everyone started saying, “Wow! Look at those Northern lights.”

To which I responded, “What are you guys talking about?? There are absolutely no Northern lights out here tonight…?”

And that’s when I heard the clip-clop of hooves coming down a wooden sidewalk. Around the corner came Jaime with a big, gentle-natured bay gelding sporting a blue halter and big red ribbon on his head. Jaime was crying and that’s when it finally hit me, “Oh my gosh! She’s totally giving me D’Allegro as a Christmas present!!”

As an accomplished rider, Jaime had graduated to a new mount, one that could take her farther in her pursuit of her three-day eventing passion. D’Allegro had previously brought Jaime as far as they could go together and now it was time for him to help a new rider along. Me.

I had grown up as a city kid, relishing any chance I got to jump on anything: From my grandfather’s Belgian team, to the ponies he kept around for us, to any opportunity Jaime would give me to cool out her horses at her lessons. Then came the Christmas eve, forever burned in my memory as the night I got my very first horse. From that day on, Jaime took me under her wing and showed me the ropes of horse ownership. We rode the ditches around her house. She taught me about things like deworming and feeding. And we laughed as only teenage girls do, every step of the way.

That Christmas eve was truly a turning point in my life. It was a momentous occasion that even my husband recognizes – on our wedding day, Clay turned to Jaime and thanked her for that December 24th night. She remains my best friend to this day.

Jaime (left) and I at Reinin' In The Sun, Armstrong, BC.

*****

Alright, before I get too emotional, I’d like to hear about your favorite Christmas!!

Comments

  1. That was one of my Favorite Christmas stories too!! Thanks for making me cry at work!! With the start of this new chapter in our lives I look forward to all the new memories we’re going to have as well!! I love you and miss you lots!

  2. Dianne McCulloch says:

    Good thing I wasn’t leaning over the keyboard when I read your blog today! The tears would have shorted it out! What a lovely story, Jenn, a friendship to treasure.

  3. Cindy Smith says:

    Beautiful story of dearest friends , both human and equine .
    Thank you for sharing Jenn !

  4. Tear, tear…. How could we possibly top that?

  5. Now that I have finished wiping the tears away, I just want to say thankyou!! Thankyou for the story but more so reminding us the value of a best friend..Have a wonderful Christmas and Ken and I wish you and Clay an amazing and wondrous New Year!!!

  6. A Christmas Gift for Lightning

    This one isn’t from a Christmas past it’s about the one that is coming. This year I am giving a Christmas gift to a very special little paint horse called Lightning.   No it’s not a toasty warm winter blanket or a new fancy brush.  He will still get some yummy horse treats in his stocking but his main gift is more special than any material gift I could give him. My gift to him represents an end to an era for him, an end to the stigma of being a twice rescued horse and an official end to the irresponsible neglect and poor handling he endured. It represents a rebirth of sorts. It says a lot about the horse he is today. It suits his personality and gives a glimpse into his bright future ahead. Over the past several months I have had the pleasure of working with him, getting to know him, deeper and deeper it seems each time we spend together.  He loves to keep a vigilant eye on me when I am outside, watching me from the shelter of several tall pine trees, following me back and forth through trees along the fence line as I feed the other horses.  He knows his turn is coming and in his anticipation he is watchful, focused and patient. He has the run of several acres interspersed with several large trees that he seems to always be hiding behind. I know he is watching me because whenever I enter his paddock area with his halter in hand he appears out of no where and drops his head in his halter. Are you wondering what his gift is or have you already figured it out?  My Christmas gift to him is a new name – I will call him…Scout.

  7. Great story Jenn
    That was a wonderful time in our lives.
    As our families celebrated Christmas together. Hopefully we will be able to relive those days again with our grandchildren!

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